NSC Statement on NHTSA Motor Vehicle Fatality Data

Estimates paint a dark picture of the state of safety on U.S. roads.

October 29, 2021

Itasca, Ill. – The National Safety Council is discouraged, though unsurprised, by data released Oct. 28 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the first six months of 2021. NHTSA preliminary estimates, as well as NSC preliminary estimates over the same time period, paint a dark picture of the state of safety on our nation’s roadways. This increase is a deadly trend that started last year during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and negates more than 15 years of progress in preventing death on U.S. roads.

NSC is hopeful, however, to learn that the U.S. Department of Transportation will prepare a National Roadway Safety Strategy. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said this strategy will take a Safe System approach, which NSC has advocated through the Road to Zero Coalition report issued in 2018. NSC supports and applauds the department’s commitment to improving roadway safety and stands ready to join the effort.

“The increasing number of fatalities on our roads demands a national response,” said Mark Chung, vice president, roadway practice, at NSC. “We have the power to reduce roadway deaths to zero, but it takes dedicated leadership and a comprehensive strategy.”

Earlier this year, NSC and more than 2,000 other organizations and individuals asked for a national commitment to zero roadway fatalities. We hope and urge the U.S. Department of Transportation to embrace this commitment that so many states, cities and counties already have. With zero as the goal, safety will govern all you do.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for over 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.

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